Over the fence chat for April, 2003

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Beyond the Sidewalks : One Thread

Hey everyone! I decided to go ahead and try to resurrect the OTF chats as I really do enjoy reading about what all you folks have been doing. Besides, they make an excellent journal record for myself - Iíve often used them to prove to Pop what we did on a certain date; like when the hummingbirds came back, or how many tomatoes we planted and when! Iíve put it down as a monthly, rather than weekly; maybe weíll get more participation that way? We can always go back to weekly if it becomes unwieldy (donít I wish!)

The weather here has been cold and gloomy the past few days - and they are even predicting a possibility of snow later in the week - bah! Typical Illinois weather!! Hubs and I took our walk back toward the lake Sunday - the Corps of Engineers has dropped the lake level waaaay down in preparation for the spring rains, so what was cove last fall is now a creek; and not much of one at that! The old beaver dam had washed out on one side, but theyíve built a new dam upstream. Didnít see any beaver, but did see a lot of freshly gnawed saplings! The little white spring beauties are blooming in the shelter of the woods, and the mayapples are up; but no sign of the wood violets - or the morels, darn it! Pop says the morels will be up 2 weeks after the whip-poor-wills start calling; but we havenít heard them yet. The family will be heading this direction for Easter dinner, so I imagine that most everyone will head for the woods after the egg hunt - just in case some early morels have popped up!

The garden is ignoring the cold, with the lettuce, broccoli, kale and cabbage flourishing. The snap peas are up about 2 inches, as are the sweet peas for the hog panel arbors at the garden entrance - a good thing; maybe theyĎll get a jump on those darn morning glories that I planted last year. I wonít be making THAT mistake again!! The radishes, spinach, chard and lettuce that I planted a couple weeks ago are all coming up strong, but Iíve seen no sprouts from the potatoes that I planted last week, yet. The rhubarb is huge - too bad I hate the stuff! Guess Hubs will have to go out and pick some and take it into his Momís so she can make him a pie; since I canít make rhubarb pie fit to eat! I planted 3-60í rows of red potatoes last week; then sent some home with Lisa (we went in town and tilled up her garden, and Uncle Ralphieís, last week), then shared out the rest of the 50# bag with Uncle Ivan. I also gave him a big packet of beet seeds to plant in his garden - sneaky, sneaky - this way I donít have to plant them; I can just go mooch out of his garden! Unc says that heís going to get some white seed potatoes too; so I guess Iíd better save a bit of room for some of those in my garden too.

Pop has taken to regally surveying the garden from the seat of his golf cart (darn those wood chipped paths - he can get all around the garden with that thing!) and handing down orders - ďDonít you think you ought to weed out those ironweeds before they take over? You ARE planning to cut some of those walking onions, arenít you? Youíre going to plant WHAT?! WHERE!?Ē (PS - Thanks for the walking (Egyptian?) onion sets that you sent me last year, John; theyíre really taking off!) Even if he does think that itís an all terrain vehicle instead of a golf cart; Iím just tickled to have Pop out in the garden again, instead of moping around in the house; so I donít think Iím complaining for real! The golf cart will fit down the 6í wide paths between the garden sections, and weíre moving some wooden benches from the front porch out to the grape arbor; and making some seats to go on the corners of the compost squares in the back section of the garden as well, so it should be pretty well accessible for him this year. Iíve got to get some pads for the wooden benches, tho, as heís lost about 25# since the last hospitalization - down to 165# and his poor old butt is too bony to sit on an unpadded seat for long! Heís been working with a hoe handle to see what he can do to make it easier to use - guess he doesnít trust me to get that weeding done after all!! So far, our best idea was to cut the end off of a bicycle handgrip and slide it over the handle, making it easier to hang on to. Weíre also going to cut down his hoe handle so that it can be used from a seated position. Hubs and Neighbor Mike are working on a design for a moveable seat that is light enough for him to move along the pathways, but sturdy enough that it wonít tip over with him, since his balance is still a bit precarious at times.

Uncle Ivan and I are itching to farm! I finally got the soil test results back so that I can order some fertilizer - Iíd rather go organic, but weíre going to have to work our way into it slowly (especially since they sent the wrong master cylinder kit for my farm truck and weĎre still waiting for the right one - whatsa matter with those NAPA folks anyway - donĎt have parts for a 38 year old truck sitting on the shelf! I tell youÖ.) Iíve no interest in being certified organic in any case - not interested in jumping through government hoops - weĎre leaning more toward sustainable rather than strictly organic farming. Weíre going with oats followed by an alfalfa mix on the 4 Ĺ acre field; and open pollinated corn followed by a cover crop on the 1 Ĺ acre one. Unc is keeping his eyes open for a baler and rake at the sales - sure is handy having an uncle who is a tractor and implement mechanic! - otherwise weíll hire the hay done. The two acre patch just east of the house is going to be filling up rapidly - thatís where the new fruit trees, raspberries and the new strawberry plants will go; along with the sweet corn and my favorite - the sunflower patch! Weíve edged out into the field with the gardens a bit more - Unc is gardening up by us this year while giving his garden a break with a cover crop and some loads of organic matter and manure; and Iíve moved into a area just east of the raised beds - about 60x30 or so - with potatoes and plans for tomatoes and melons; all heavily mulched with straw. That sure isnít going to hurt the organic matter content of the soil any! I was disappointed to see that our organic matter was only 2.5% - darn clay soil just eats organic matter!! Unc and I have also saved a patch about 2í wide all the way across the front (road) edge of the field (250+ feet) for a bed of zinnias - and whatever other flower seed I have lying around the house.

Since weíve not been able to get into the fields for a few days, Unc decided that we needed to do SOMETHING! - so he dug around in his attic and found his old incubator and brought it and some eggs from his banty chickens down today. He says that if any hatch, that I can have them. Iíll turn the eggs when I get home from work in the mornings; and again when I get up in the afternoons; Hubs will turn them again before he goes to bed at night. Poor Pop is going to get stuck with babysitting the incubator while weíre gone this coming weekend - Lisa and Bailey will be staying with him; whatcha want to bet he talks her into turning them for him?! I gotta get a new chicken house built!

Hubs and I are getting ready to head down to Missouri to Baker Creek Seed Coís Spring Planting Festival this coming weekend - I canít wait!! Uncle Ivan and Aunt Susan; and Uncle Roger and Aunt Loretta are going too. Itís a good thing that Hubs and I are taking the pick-up truck down - Unc wants to maybe buy some different banty chickens and definitely wants some plants for his garden, Iím looking for tomatoes, perennials and herbs, and maybe some chickens (Hubs wants another rooster - can you believe it!), and now Pop has taken a notion that he wants us to bring back some guinea fowl as well! Iíve got my bibbies packed; and Hubís new ones are in my work bag, ready to be hemmed on my dinner break at work tomorrow, so we are ready to hit the road as soon as he gets off work Saturday noon.

Well, folks; Iím yawning so big that I canít hardly see the monitor, so I reckon Iíd better post this and head off to bed. Big day tomorrow - picking up the yard so it can be mown, doing laundry in town and visiting with Jes a bit, then in to work - so I need my sleep! You folks all take care this week; write in and let us know what youíre up to if you can!

-- Anonymous, April 07, 2003


Such a nice post Polly! The love of your family sure shows. Wish I could give Pop some of my butt! I certainly have more than I need!....kirk

-- Anonymous, April 08, 2003

Ahh - great minds think alike, don't they, Joy!? Can you combine the two OTF posts, please Ma'am?!

Thank you Kirk; yep, I am rather fond of the crew out here; but then, they're pretty easy to be fond of! Thanks for the offer, but I've already tried to give him 30 or so pounds - we just can't figure out how to make the transfer! I'm feeding him lots of protien to build up his muscles a little, and lots of goodies to just get some weight on him - hopefully he'll be well padded again soon!

-- Anonymous, April 08, 2003

Heh! I was surprised to sign in and find two of these . . . :O Must have been something in the air last night?

They're about the same length/number of responses, SO . . . I think that I will keep this one (you must have beat me by a whisker). Therefore, I will copy and paste from my thread, then delete it.



The cut & paste:

Okay, so how about a monthly thread? We can always go back to weekly, or bi-weekly, if we get that chatty! I have been scarce on many of my Internet haunts in the last few days, including here. The dreaded tax filing deadline looms, and I've been struggling with that. After several straight hours, I think it's done. I'm taking a break, then going to look it over again at least once, maybe twice.

'Bout had a heart attack yesterday -- I found my property tax bill, apparently unpaid! Gah! But right under it, I found my print-out from paying online. Whew! This is the first time I've done it that way, and since that was over 3 months ago, I had forgotten. Hopefully, I'll remember it next year.

If I do it again that is. Items written in my checkbook (including notes of what I did or why) have been my major helpers for this kind of thing. I may have to start a log of online payments, all written in one little notebook . . .

It would be nice if I could keep track with an account program. Unfortunately, I am not finding "Money" to be very user friendly, and I think it has glitches in it. I am about to give up on it and just buy Quicken. Anyone have any opinions on that?

Other than that, I have been dealing with a resurgence of winter, this time with some ice. But it's supposed to get warmer by the end of the week, and that should be the end of the snow.

It's about time to get some crook-neck squash seedlings going. I have a plan, sort of. I'm going to start plenty, but save some seed for starting later. For these first starts, I will plant out as soon as possible and put "insulation" around them. If they croak, I'll have others to plant later. The second round of starts is to back up failures from the others . . . any one want to make bets on whether I'll still end up with virtually NO squash, or whether I'll be buried under an avalanche of the little yellow buggers?

Starting to think about what tomatoes to grow this year. Definitely Juliet again . . . . yummy! I haven't been able to bring myself to buy a tomato in the store since the end of my garden tomatoes. I just KNOW they won't taste as good. ;-)

Now, I am off to read the stuff posted recently and get caught up. I see that Linda has checked in, so I'll have to go say Hi!

-- Joy (CatFlunky@excite.com), April 07, 2003

Answers I'm so sick of this winter I could puke! The septic drain field is still frozen up so its a flush once a day unless it gets really disgusting or pay $90. a pop to get the tank sucked out. As I said before we're downsizing the garden this year. There just isn't time to do it justice. I've got 60 yards of leaves to finish composting tho so I'll be working on that some in the hopes it'll be ready to spread this fall.

Last December we bought that adjoining acre to our land so this summer one of my big projects will be to clean it up. There are several of Gordies old shacks that will have to be disposed of. Its tempting to just put a match to them but I'd like to salvage the trailer frame. Another is an old smallish semi trailer without the axles so I'm thinking I'm gonna drag it down to the saw mill and use it for a utility shed dedicated to saw mill stuff. He had a privy hidden away in one of them tho so I'm thinking I'm gonna make an attractive yard barn and put over the hole and still use it for "emergencies". Hopefully it'll be adequately camoflaged so the authorities won't recognize it for what it is.

My doves are finally doing some day routing. Thats where a bunch of them will take a trip and fly for a couple hours at a time, then return home. Thats common behavior for them but mine haven't done it till this year. Usually they'll just fly in circles around the house for several laps, land, hang out and fly in circles some more. They sure are beautiful tho, pure white, glistening in the sunlight.

-- john (natlivent@pcpros.net), April 08, 2003.

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Say John aren't pigeons actually doves? Seems I heard that somewhere? Ya doves are special aren't they? I feel blessed when they come around with that great cooing sound!....Kirk

-- Kirk Davis (kirkay@yahoo.com), April 08, 2003.

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This weekend was the major house decluttering session. I took Friday off from work and we had a PODS unit delivered to our house. If you haven't heard of PODS, it's like a self-storage unit only more convenient. An 8'x8'x12' storage unit gets delivered right to your house. You load it up, and then the truck comes back and puts it in their warehouse. If you need to get something out of it or put more stuff into it while it's in the warehouse you just call them and give 2 hours notice and they pull it out for you. Then after we move we'll have them deliver it to our new house to unload. So now I'm bruised as a ripe banana from carrying boxes and furniture all weekend. I'm glad that Keith and I started lifting weights a few months ago because there's no way we could have done all this stuff with my old puny arms. :) The house does look more spacious with all the clutter gone, but it looks strange to me too. I can feel my spirit start to pull away from it a bit, if you know what I mean. I had this house built in the fall of '97 and we moved in Jan '98. We had so many dreams for the place that never worked out, and I've changed so much since then that now I have new dreams. Still it's going to be strange to leave.

Keith's mom is doing better. Her right shoulder was crushed in the accident and now she has 18 pins and plates holding it together. She has to go to physical therapy twice a week to regain use of it. She was living by herself in Michigan, but since she can't drive with her arm and anyways her car is totaled she's moved back to Indiana for the duration of her therapy. Right now she's staying with Keith's dad. It's a funny situation because they've been divorced for 20+ years. Keith says they get along better now than when they were married. Their personalities are so different, they remind me of the Odd Couple. It's going to be interesting. :)

-- Sherri C (CeltiaSkye@aol.com), April 08, 2003.

END cut & paste

-- Anonymous, April 08, 2003

What a great idea! I wish I was being as kind of fun productive as some of you guys ;-) but I'm having a kind of chaotic time of it. Tons of loose ends, loose ends all over the house, plus it suddenly got cold here and I have seeds started in the greenhouse and I can't figure out if I should pull them all back inside and and and ...

So there you are. The good news is, some really big loose ends are getting tied up. Yay! Like a house my sister and I bought my brother out of, we should be getting possession of it pretty quick. Whew! The bad news is, somehow I have ended up with several million tiny loose ends. Ack!

Oh well, maybe if I make some banana-peach bread, all the loose ends will go away. :-P

-- Anonymous, April 08, 2003

I AM GOING CRAZY HERE!!!! First off, I'm planning on visiting my parents and sister in Virginia. My brother is visiting with my nephew from California so my sister suggested that we all get together. I'll be driving two hours to pick up my other sister that lives in southern NJ, then an additional 4 hours to VA. I planned on leaving on Saturday and coming home on Tuesday. (All that driving)

Anyway, I can't go if my goats don't have these babies that were due yesterday and today. They look like they are going to pop but nothing. I've separated them into four sections so no one steps on another's kid if they all decide to have them at the same time. Wire panels tied with hay twine. Keep listening to the baby monitor but not a sound. This is the first time for three of them. One is REALLY big. Hopefully it's mutiple births and not really big babies.

ALSO, it snowed here yesterday. At least four inches with ice on top with no sign of melt for a few days. What is melting is mud. Yuck!

Oh, oh, what was that? False alarm, just someone choking. All last night I kept waking up but it was just Glenn's nose whistling. Never noticed it before.

I'm missing out on going to a Pet Trade Show this weekend in Atlantic City. I love to go and see new products and get free stuff. Last year my boss rented an extra room for the employees to use. It was really nice because we didn't have to drive there and back in one day. Did that one year (three hours each way)was exhusted after walking through all the booths. That takes two days at least.

All well, family won't be around forever, right? I not really close to my family and really didn't mind that they moved away. My parents are really heavy smokers so if you visited, you stunk of smoke all day. And you had to shower before going to bed or your pillow would smell from your hair. Growing up, if you got something on the wall, you couldn't wash it off or you would have to wash the WHOLE wall. Yuck! Second hand smoke, that's probably why I have so many allergies today.

AND I cut and dyed my hair so it would look nice but I think I cut my bangs too short. I'll have to see after I curl it in the morning.

Glad to see everyone. Polly, glad Pops is doing better. Sherri, stay upbeat during the move, it'll be over soon. John, shitty deal man. Maybe you could put your hot compost on the septic to warm it up? Joy, I haven't even started thinking of my garden. Hi Kirk. And I guess that's you Linda on the end.

-- Anonymous, April 08, 2003

Kirk: Yup. Pigeons are doves but not all doves are pigeons. Mine are white rock doves or white homing pigeons. Rock dove = homing pigeons

They really are pretty to watch fly and fun to just hang around with. I've been feeding them on the ground lately. This summer I hope to have time to feed them slowly while sitting there so they'll become more tame. I can walk around and even drive within 10' of them now but they're still kinda spooky. The chief training tool is feed.

-- Anonymous, April 08, 2003

Yea I can be trained by the food myself!.....

-- Anonymous, April 09, 2003

One down, three to go. Had them 2:30 in the morning. Ever try looking for a placenta when you're half asleep? Man was I beat today in work. Anyway, she had a boy and a girl. I'm expecting that one, maybe two will have again tonight. I mean early morning. What is it with these animals having babies in the middle of the night. Does it go back to having them before predators come or something. (I had my son at 4:30 in the morning.) Going to bed now to hopefully catchup a little. At least I don't have to work tomorrow.

-- Anonymous, April 09, 2003

Dee, sheep and goats can be encouraged to give birth during the day (afternoon and evening) by feeding them hay in the morning only, and maybe a little grain in late afternoon. Evening and nightime checks should be done with a flashlite, (don't turn on the barn lights) and with as little noise and disturbance as possible. It's no guarantee of course, but lots of people have cut down on middle of night lambing and kidding this way (including me).

-- Anonymous, April 09, 2003

Two down, two to go. One looks like she will kid soon.

Thanks for the info EM. I leave the light on all night so they don't accidentallly step on a kid. I'm a little worried about Mom number two. She looked really big but only had two kids and hasn't passed the placenta yet.

-- Anonymous, April 10, 2003

Dee, I hope the rest of your girls hurry up so you can go on your trip this weekend. Do you think mom #2 might have triplets and that's why she's so big? For a time I was lurking on the goat forum over at Homesteading Today but some of those posts are enough to scare anyone off from ever owning goats. I was starting to freak myself out. :)

We may or may not have a case of SARS in Indiana. Yesterday the media was saying that it is, now today they're saying that it's not. They're still keeping the person in quarrantine just in case. The person had traveled to Asia recently.

-- Anonymous, April 10, 2003

No, mom #2 had just twins. When I really looked, one boy was really big. The piggy is sucking down ALL the milk though and not letting little brother have any. I locked piggy up so the little one can get a jump on the colostum. I may have to have my son give little one supplimental bottles while I'm gone or he may starve. I really don't want to totally bottle feed him if at all possible.

SCARS is really scary now. Kinda wonder if it was done on purpose. Someone said that about AIDS once, didn't they? Figured they would take care of some of the overpopulation, taking out homosexuals, never figuring it would cross. Never proved but then again, they thought it started from monkeys, didn't they? Someone having sex with a monkey, is that even possible?

-- Anonymous, April 10, 2003

From all the stuff I've learned over the past year about what our government does behind our backs, absolutely nothing would surprise me anymore.

I personally expect that all sorts of nightmares are about to befall us, that nature can only be pushed around so long before all our 'progress' comes back to bite us in the rear. Unless people suddenly start caring about what's going on in the world and demand a stop to mindless disregard of nature's common sense, I doubt very much we will survive as a species.

I don't think anyone would choose homosexuals to weed out in order to curb population; we are less likely to have children after all. It would be more likely a case of homosexual men being expendible; few people seem to care all that much if they suffer and die anyway.

This explains the theories and evidence behind it quite well:


-- Anonymous, April 11, 2003

Triplets!!! The third mom had triplets. One mom left but I'm not sure when she was bred so she may have them next week. I'm going on my trip. Talk to you all when I get back.

-- Anonymous, April 11, 2003

Holy Cow!!!! Where did the month of April go?? Hard to believe it's half over...and it's time to "settle up" with uncle sam again. Seems to me he ALWAYS gets the better end of the deal!!! Pay, pay, pay...that's all we do!

Dee...congrats on all your babies! Sounds like you had a very hectic week or so. Maybe by now your last doe has kidded. All my kids left today and I spent most of this morning shoveling out the kid room...and missing them! But...time to get ready for the meat chicks and turkey poults! I've managed to slow my heaviest milker up a little to make it easier on my wrists. Now instead of about 13 lbs. a day she's down to about 7 lbs. Gotta get both of them down to once a day milking before we put the boat out on the water. I don't want to have to rush home to milk goats after fishing and pulling traps all day :-)!!

The last 10 days or so have been kinda sad for both me and Harry. Three of the first people we met after moving to Maine have passed away. These were neighbors who helped us set up our homestead, showed us how to cut firewood and saw logs, gave us tons of gardening advice and helped us chase around livestock at different times!! They were there for us without being pushy and nosey. They were all elderly, but for us they didn't seem much older than when we first met them 26 yrs. ago! Time marches on, I guess, but it's times like this that I'm glad we took lots of pictures.

Weather here has been really nice. The snow's long gone and temps have been in the fifties and low sixties. I haven't been able to till up my garden yet...too wet, but I've been cleaning up my perenial gardens and tightening my fencing. It's amazing how far up out of the ground that frost can push the posts!!

I have a few questions to ask you folks, but I have to get off line now and talk to my mom. She just called and she's not doing so well either!! Oh Drat!! Later....

-- Anonymous, April 14, 2003

Wow, I feel like I need to go to work to get a rest from home. :) I've been redoing all of my flower beds. I originally edged them with that black plastic edging, but over the years it's gotten chewed up by the lawnmower and was looking pretty ragged. I pulled it all out and I've been digging a channel around the edge and laying bricks as an edging. When our house was built the mason left all the extra bricks in our garage so I have plenty. I'm trying to use them up so the garage looks a little neater. I had a hydrangea bush and a wygelia bush that didn't survive the winter so I pulled them both out and replaced them with a miniature yew. That side of the house is starting to look OK, but I still need to finish the big flower bed and around the one tree in front. My friend Jeani divided her irises this weekend and I divided my daylilies so we're going to swap. I haven't even started my veggie garden yet, hopefully this weekend if the weather holds. It's at least a month before I can plant any warm weather crops but I'd at least like to get some spinach and beets in the ground now.

The painters came yesterday and painted most of the interior of our house. I still need to do the two back bedrooms myself, I didn't have the painters do them because I needed somewhere to stash the cats while the painters were working. I give up on choosing paint colors! I picked what I thought was a light blue for the downstairs bathroom but it's a lot darker on the walls, and I chose a light cream for the rest of the house but now that it's on the walls it just looks white. Well at least all the nailpops and scuff marks are gone. The flooring company is coming out tomorrow to measure for the new laminate and carpeting. We're still hoping to get the house listed on the market by the end of the month.

Polly, what are you going to use that open pollinated corn for? Is it an eating variety or are you going to use it for livestock feed? Is Bailey still helping Pops with the eggs in the incubator? Has she ever seen chicks hatch before? How was the Spring Planting Festival? I was talking with some friends about Pops and his golf cart. We thought it would be cool if you could put really big tires on the golf cart and then hook up a hydraulic shock system like on a lowrider car. That way you could drop the cart down so it's easy for him to get it, and then raise it up so he'd have the clearance to go zooming through the fields. Sort of a golf cart/ATV/lowrider hybrid. Maybe we've watched one too many episodes of "Monster Garage" :)

-- Anonymous, April 15, 2003

Whew - hot out there!! I just came in the house to cool down; may have to swap this dress for some shorts if I stay outside working much longer! But then, I do have to go in to work tonight, so Iím going to have to take a nap soon - reckon I can stand it for just a little bit longer!

Iíve been out working in the garden and yard all morning. Iíve got a fine crop of ironweed in my berry beds and also in my raised beds that are currently empty. Iíve dumped unfinished compost (mostly straw) on the empty beds to smother íem, and Pop and I have been pulling and hoeing them out of the berry beds. We also (finally!) got the spots marked for my fruit trees - the ones that came yesterday, but, of course, the auger isnít fixed yet - even tho I started nagging about it a month ago! Still havenít marked for the raspberries though - soon, I swear! I did manage to get the front perennial bed weeded; and have started digging holes in front of 9 of the 11 posts on the shed canopy. The other two posts have downspouts on them and will have rain barrels sitting under them after we move the water tank to the other end of the building - in the next weekend or so! Hubs is suffering with his first bout of poison ivy this spring - on his hands and errr, ahemÖin a rather delicate location - so I have orders to clean up a flower bed that Mama planted years ago - aka ďThat poison ivy infested weed patch in the side yard before I take the Round-up to it!Ē Iíll put the phlox that is in there by the north steps off the west porch, the surprize lilies in the front perennial bed somewhere, and the double flowered day lilies around each shed post. The Jerusalem artichokes are on their own!! Then I guess Iíll have to dig out and dispose of the poison ivy too, if he just mows it, weíll have it coming up all over the darn yard!

Iím hoping to get over to the nursery this week to pick up some perennials and some annuals for my hanging baskets as well. Iím going to use 2 gallon donut icing buckets from the local convenience store where Lisa works part time for my hanging baskets this year - I think that theyíll hold a lot more soil; and thus, a lot more soil moisture; and will be easier for Pop to water if he takes a notion to do so. For someone who doesnít think he can do anything, he sure is managing to get some stuff done! He was sitting on the porch moaning and groaning his latest refrainÖ ďI just canít do anything to helpÖĒ and I borrowed EMís term and told him to stuff a sock in it. Heís gonna think he canít do anything when I drag him over to the nursery Thursday morning to get the plants for the baskets and then leave him to plant them while I go take a nap - canít do anything, HA! My perennial beds are full of plants coming up - looks like I need to thin the bee balm again, maybe. Iíve still got some peonies out in the front yard that are being smothered out by a blue spruce that is growing out over them - I need to move them up into the west perennial bed to replace the one that Maraca puppy dug up - and then I need to put down a strip of rewire to keep her from digging in there again! The apagagus out in the field and that in the garden are coming up, some of the strawberries are blooming and the pear trees are a solid froth of white. Gosh, itís gorgeous out here in the spring time! And spring isnít even my favorite season! I still havenít heard the whip-poor-wills; and the humming birds arenít back yet, nor the barn swallows. I have seen several bats tho, and got quite a scare when a blue tailed skink ran over my hand and up the wall of the house as I was cleaning out last years stalks from the mint bed on the north side of the house. I think he lives under the steps off the west porch. Scared Pop too, when I let out a whoop; but he did enjoy watching the skink crawl back down the wall.

Uncle Ivan and Aunt Susan, Hubs and I all went down to MO this past weekend to Baker Creek Seed Coís Spring Planting Festival - it was pretty neat, but I didnít come home with as many plants as I had hoped to - nor any chickens, either! Tho, Uncle Ivan DID get a couple dozen fertilized eggs to put in the incubatorÖ I could have brought home a bunch of chicks, as we went to a swap meet on Sunday morning, but I didnít want to leave them in the back of the truck all day while we were out at the festival; and I wasnít sure how the motel folks would feel about chickies in the bathtub! We may go back down later on, or I can always pick up some more chickens after the 4- H fair in any case. I did get some tomato and herb plants, several kinds of pole bean and flower seeds and some of Ron Macherís (editor of Small Farm Today magazine) open pollinated field corn seed. We had a really good time, especially visiting with Uncle Charlie and Aunt Fern; and listening to good bluegrass music. We didnít go back for the second day of the festival (tho I would have been perfectly willing to do so!); instead, heading for home shortly after having breakfast at ďPollyís CafťĒ in downtown Mountain Grove (yep, I got a menu!) and then touring the Laura Ingalls Wilder home and museum in Mansfield. We stopped at a couple of wineries on the way home, so Hubs came out of the trip with something too! Uncle Ivan and Aunt Susan went on down to Arkansas to visit another cousin, so I am waiting for them to get back before I candle the eggs in the incubator to see if they are developing. I think I might be able to fit maybe a dozen of the full size eggs in there with the banty eggs, but thereís no way I can get all two dozen of them in there! Hubs is busy designing a new cage system for themÖyep, counting his chickens before theyíre hatched! Bailey's not seen chicks hatch before, (nor has Hubs, for that matter!) but since I've not used this particular incubator before, I think maybe I'll wait until I've run a couple of batches through it before I encourage her to watch - seems I remember a couple of chicks that weren't quite "right" in the distant past.

Iím sticking with hybrids for my sweet corn so far, Sherri; the OP corn will be fed to critters (calves and chickens) and ground for cornmeal for us. Iím hoping to get enough seed from the pound of corn I bought from Ron to plant an acre next year. I donít have to sell much from this place - just enough to keep my ag land tax base; and I can do that with the hay crop. The ground needs a rest from row crops anyway. Uncle Ivan has turned into a believer in diversity, somewhat to my surprize; and is no longer hounding me to use chemical this and that. Still havenít quite got Pop convinced yet; tho he really didnít like the color I turned before I could get to my inhaler after a trip down the chemical aisle at Rural King last week! He still swears that heís going to weed Ďn feed the lawn - tho I did at least convince him to hold off until after the Easter Egg Hunt. Then, Iíll point out that Bailey is walking around out there barefootÖ.devious, devious!

Monster Garage - you know, I've already got Hubs wanting to do strange things in the garage.... As for his golf cart, Pop really doesnít need anything more hopped up than heís got - weíre all scared to ride with him now, the way he drives it!! Plus, it was only $400; a pretty decent price for something we werenĎt even sure that he would use in the first place. We had actually thought about getting him a ďMuleĒ ATV since they are low to the ground; but I really donít want him going anywhere alone that the golf cart canít get him to anyway; so that I donít have any trouble getting to him if needs be. Heís still having the occasional TIA; and the BP isnít stable yet either. Sigh. Scares me, but Iím not about to let him see that! Hubs is trying to find Jesís old walkie-talkies so we can keep track of him, since the cell phones are iffy out here. Popís already chased Uncle Ivan and the tractor across a field and driven down to the lake and back; so I think heíd just better stick with what heís got! Thank you for thinking of him, tho; I surely do appreciate any ideas to help him get around like he wants to.

Well, Iíd better head for bed and that nap; gotta get up and have supper fixed before I leave so that the ďboysĒ can get right out and get to work on that auger before it gets dark - I want to get those trees in the ground! You folks all take care, and have a great weekÖ

-- Anonymous, April 15, 2003

Ooops, I forgot! Congrats on the babies, Dee. Gee, now I know where to come for goats when Hubs retires!

-- Anonymous, April 15, 2003

I figured the OP corn must be for critter food. I haven't heard of a non-hybrid sweet corn, have you?

We are going to look at a house on Saturday. It's on 16.5 acres and has a couple of polebarns. I don't think that this is going to be "the one" but at least it's a start. I like to watch a show on HGTV called "House Hunters", each episode they show someone who's looking to buy a house. The way the show is edited, the person always buys the third house shown. I saw one episode where a couple made an offer on the second house and it was rejected, they then bought the next house. So Keith and I have been joking that we have to buy the third house we look at, and Saturday's appointment will be House #1.

-- Anonymous, April 16, 2003

I've been growing OP corn for years: golden bantam, silver queen and stowell's evergreen (although last one takes a very long season).

Sherri, it's so fun to look at real estate! Buying a farm is so much more complicated than just a house though. We bought our first place here in the midwest in winter; the soil turned out to be a nightmare.....all sand, and could never grow anything on it, except gophers and sand burrs. And outbuildings can be very expensive to repair or build, so good ones are very valuable.

-- Anonymous, April 16, 2003

Hello everyone! The Wildman still lives! Sorry, but after a long hiatus I'm back. (insert smiley face, frown, or look of consternation here).

I won't bore everyone with all that's gone wrong since I quit posting but suffice to say that it's been a hectic and traumatic vacation and I'd rather have been posting and doing fun stuff. I've even had to ignore my regular e-mail friends.

But, at our age, it seems like all our friends and relatives are either as old as we are or older and if you want to help care for them or if they have no one else, they can keep you busy with trips to the hospital, emergencies at home and trying to maintain their places while they're gone. And I'm afraid it's not over yet but we're getting a break right now.

We are lucky in that no one has died during this period. Close but no cigar!

About a month ago, I myself had excruciating pain from my shoulder socket, across the muscle and up to the neck. Thought I had pulled a muscle but when the pain went around to the front of the neck, I figured it was time to see a doctor and I haven't seen a doctor in over three years so Sandy figured that if I wanted to go to the doctor, then we must have a problem. Well, that's a lie. I've seen a lot of doctors in the last three years but they weren't treating me.

Wasn't a heart attack but about as close as I could come without winning the brass ring. Left main artery from the heart was 95% blocked in two places which, happily, were close enough to require only one number 4 stent. I'm thankful that all the other old pipes to the pump organ are clean and clear with no blockages and still have a healthy heart.

Then, when we thought we were out of the woods and that everyone was getting healthy, my sinus problems kicked up and I spent three weeks getting two or three hours sleep a night and finally changed doctors and was happy with him as soon as I started getting some sleep and relief. The other doctor I had, had me just praying that I could get back to the misery that I was in before I went to him. He had me so screwed up that I figured if someone had told me I could live to be 200, but that was the best I'd ever feel, I'd have just told them to shoot me. I was at a point where I was having hallucinations. That was fun! I was still sane enough to recognize them for what they were so at times I thought it was funny. Still can't sit still long and suffer anxiety attacks bordering on pure panic for some reason, but that's a long, long story and besides I'm on the road to recovery. As John Aston would say, "I'm better now".

Enough negative stuff.

Belated welcomes to the new members, condolences or kudos to those who need them. I'll never be able to catch up on all the individual post that have been posted since I've been gone.

It looks like the board has taken on a life of it's own lately because I haven't even been able to read all the posts since there have been so many. Seems like everyone is in a talkative mood.

Since every piece of gas equipment that I have is broke, I haven't planted much in the garden this year. Did get a few plants out yesterday because I felt pretty good but I'm thinking at this rate, maybe I should just start on the Fall garden and forget the Summer stuff. Not clear headed yet so I'm not even sure what I planted yesterday, guess I'd better go out and look this morning.

Had a Hummer get into the house the other day. Poor thing was really stressed out. We had all the doors open and when we came in, he had came to visit and found no one home. He was trying to get out but wouldn't get low enough to get through the doors. We placed a couple of feeders in the house in hopes that he'd at least get some nourishment but he ignored them and finally wore himself out and fell to the floor. I picked him up and he was still breathing. Took him to the back porch, along with a feeder, and stuck his little beak into the nectar. After a few minutes, his breathing picked up, he jumped up and fell in the feeder and flew off. He probably didn't survive due to the stress but, at least, I didn't have to contend with two women being upset because he died in the house.

We're trying to get everything together to take a day off and go fishing this week but the week is passing so fast that it'll be gone by the time I get everything together. One of Sandy's brothers, that we've been helping, has threes stock tanks, (Texas, Ponds everywhere else) and they have perch, cats and largemouths in them and haven't been fished in a long, long time. We haven't been fishing in so long that I'm not sure where we're suppose to put the bait. We are suppose to use bait, aren't we? Aww, who cares we'll sit on the bank and drink beer.

Sure hope I can remember the password or I've just wasted a lot of time.

Wildman, (returning)

-- Anonymous, April 17, 2003

Oh Jack how wonderful to see you here again!! You have been terribly terribly missed! Please don't leave for so long again. I need a Wildman humor fix every so often to keep me goin!

When you first mentioned Hummer, I immediately thought of the vehicle, and wondered what the heck it was doing in your living room.

So sorry to hear of all your troubles; I know in the past you have spent much time and energy on helping folks out who were in trouble; you are a good and kind person. Don't forget to take care of yourself too. I take this oral chelation product that hopefully keeps my arteries open. My father has been through all that stent stuff (plus!) and I don't wanna go there!

As to your fishin trip, I ran into a recipe for catfish bait you might like to try:

Sick Balls Use this bait - it caught me a 10 lb. cat!

1 cup of wheaties

2 tbsp sardine oil

1 spoonfull of shrimp paste

1cup milk

Kraft cheese powder(dump all in)

limburger cheese(pieces)

flour and goldfish food

Mix, put in container outside in sunlight for 3 days!!

Tom - Victorville

Be well, and love to you and yours!

-- Anonymous, April 17, 2003

Hi all,

Well, Dee! I hope everything went well. Whatís the latest? I wanted to let y'all know that when the rams snuck in to visit my girls at the end of November, they didnít just play cards and have polite conversation! Iíve got at least two ewes due any day nowÖmaybe a third and fourth. Itís hard to tell with sheep because of their fleece and they donít make up udders until the last minute. So the barn checks and everything are ongoing here now, too. Yawn... Hopefully weíll have lambs over the weekend (and during the day). Yeah, right.

Wildman! Welcome back! I had a hummer outside my house the other day. Does that count? And glad youíre okay. Mr. S. just had open- heart surgery about a month ago. Thatís most of my news. Iím glad the sheep didnít require my vigilance while I was taking care of him.

Itís good to see so many folks back here!

-- Anonymous, April 17, 2003

Well, doesn't seem as if I've got as much time for the computer as I thought I did! What a bummer!

EM, thanks for the receipt. Problem is that is was smelling so good while I was making it that I ate it myself. Of course, I didn't let it sit outside for three days. Besides, the Bass were biting so fast that we barely had time to reel them in and rebait the hooks. First Bass out of the box was around 4 pounds. Talk about excited. Sandy reeled it in while I was rigging up some more rods. Unfortunately, the rest weren't quite that big but we kept 7 or 8, missed a few and threw about a half a dozen or so back.

Sandy wants to go out there and fish every week but I'm thinking maybe once a month. She plans on having fish fillets, beans and hush puppies tonight for supper so I might change my mind about the frequency of our trips after supper.

Sheepish, yep, any Hummer counts! I had one in the shop yesterday. Amazing that they won't drop down a foot to get through the doors to escape but, stick close to the ceilings. I finally hung a feeder in the doorway and he was so exhausted that he did find the feeder, had a refreshing drink and flew away.

During my break from the computer, one of my brother-in-laws had open heart surgery. Understand what Mr. S. is going through. BIL said to just let him die next time. He's doing well now though so he might change his mind. Either Sandy or I was there everyday for the two or three weeks that it took him to finally get well enough to go home. We try to keep someone in the hospital with the patient most of the time while they're there. This hospital gives excellent care but it just seems that there's a little more attention paid when they know that there's a family member either there or subject to be there at all hours of the day or night. Then there was the trips to his house (another 30 mile trip) to help out, repair things, pick up groceries, prescriptions, make sure he and his wife ate, etc., for another couple of weeks until he got well enough to function on his own with confidence. 'Nother bummer. Been getting a lot of bummers lately.

What the hell happened to all the posts? I come back and it seems like the post have stopped!

Wildman, (fishing fool) Make sure you don't forget the work "fishing" when you mention me!

-- Anonymous, April 19, 2003

Welcome back, Wildman! I thought you'd written us off!

As for the number of posts, well, it ALWAYS slows down at the weekend, ya know!

I have been very busy with an ailing bird. My 12-year-old Sun Conure (small relative of macaws), Lily, became hormonal this spring. I was sure she was going to lay an egg -- like chickens, they don't HAVE to have a male around to start laying. Well, it turned out I was right, she did have an egg, but it was stuck.

To make a long story short, nothing worked, and it ended with surgery -- and she didn't survive the surgery. I was very attached to this little bird -- my best friend gave her a perfect eulogy, "happy little blaze of glory". That was Lily. So Julie and I are very sad (she was Julie's bird originally, and Lily still had a bond with Julie, as well as with me).

Julie is having her own problems, with a sick hamster and a guinea pig that is having eating difficulties. She's very busy, and she says when she tries to get in here it won't let her.

Did you notice that the "long" posts are no longer getting that "OUCH" message? :-)

I am still thinking about my garden (though that is about all I can do at the moment) and what to plant. Got to get going on the seed starts.

Last Monday and Tuesday, we were in the 80's -- shorts, sandals, and T's. Wednesday morning, I took the dog out in the morning wearing my down coat. Schizoid Wisconsin weather! Today it is back up to 65. Yay! We didn't get the promised rain though, and we need it. :(

It's Earth Day -- do something nice for her! :-D

-- Anonymous, April 19, 2003

Oh no, Joy. I hadn't written ya'll off but things turned to crap a couple of months ago and are just now getting better. We think!

While we were in TX. my sister had cancer and was suppose to be in remission. They decided to retire early and we found this place in ARK that we really liked. It was decided that Sandy, Jene and I would move up here too because my sister is the only family I have left. We gave up our other life, the one where I had money, work and knew most of the people in town, to move up here where we know very few people, have no money and work is non existent. Not complaining, just stating a fact. Would do it again. Sisters cancer returned, back to the hospital, more treatments. Then, later she was back in for more surgery and then back in again for surgery for complications from the surgery.

Then Sandy has a brother up here who is 17 years older than she is and his wife is quite a bit older than he is. They've been in and out of the hospital about three or four (I've lost count, but I sure know my way around the hospital) times since Dec.

Then last month I went in for a stent and after I got out, Sandy's brother's wife went back in for test and another stent. They have no one else up here to depend on and Sandy is the caregiver of the family. She takes care of everyone. I think she's ready to go to the hospital just to rest. She deserves it but I suggested a good hotel with room service instead. Can't afford those hospital stays!

We moved up here so all of us could relax and enjoy life and so far we spend all out time stressed out.

Sorry to hear about the bird. They're family just like a dog or cat. We had two Mexican Red Heads when we were in TX. and they were so bonded to us, that we caught them sitting on the porch rail one day when we had left the door open. After that we would take them out on our shoulder and they'd fly around and come back to us. I decided to be really nice to them, so I built a huge cage outside for them, something like 15 x 20 in among the trees. Something got in one night and got them both.

We had three at one time but the female didn't like us. She laid an egg on the floor of the cage one day. From three feet up! Not a very smart bird. She got loose one day and never did return and none of us missed her!

Ya'll be sure to remember Easter. Here comes Peter Cotton Tail, hoping down the bunny trail. BLAM!

Wildman, (feeling sorry)

-- Anonymous, April 19, 2003

Ah, what a wonderful day! The weatherman was misinformed, apparently, because instead of the cloudy, rainy, thunder boomer weather that he predicted for today, we had sunshine and warm breezes. It did rain overnight, but not enough to make the yard muddy, so the kiddies got to enjoy the annual Easter Egg Hunt outdoors, and without boots and coats - and for one little guy, without shoes! We ended up with 40 folks here at dinner time; not as many as we had thought, but Uncle Ralphís family (20+) ended up at his granddaughterís house instead. We cooked a ham and a turkey breast, and some BBQ meatballs, while Uncle Ivan fried up a mess of catfish - plenty of ham and turkey left but no sign of any catfish or meatballs - guess weíre just not too traditional, huh? I counted 8 kinds of pie - 3 chocolate, 2 coconut, banana, apple, rhubarb, cherry, strawberry and custard; and I think I had a thin sliver of all but the rhubarb! Of course, there were all the casseroles and salads and other desserts; and a birthday cake as well, since today was Uncle Rogerís 65th birthday. And yes, Jack - we did see Peter Cottontail - I used frozen roll dough to make pull aparts in the shape of a lamb and a bunny; so we enjoyed those for lunch too! After dinner, half the crew headed for the woods to hunt mushrooms, while the rest of us (those with better sense!) hunted for the couches and chairs! The wilderness crew came back with 2 mushrooms, a turtle (land terrapin) and a rock. Yeah, a rock. Donít ask me, I donít know WHY Laurie Ann brought back a rock, but she did; and it went home with her too! The turtle made his escape while the dogs were gorging on table scraps and the two mushrooms are soaking in the fridge so I can fry them up for Pop tomorrow.

I did manage to get out of the house for a short while; and took a peek at my garden. The potatoes are finally starting to come up; and everything else looks really good so far - especially the darn ironweed! Sure wish I knew where that stuff was coming from; itís just thick in the beds, and out in the area where the old berry patch was as well. We got the 4 apple and 4 cherry trees that came the other day planted - Hubs managed to get the auger fixed, a ten minute welding job; and Pop and Uncle Ivan got the holes dug while I headed out to a computer class at work; then we planted them after supper. My berry and other plants were supposed to have been shipped the 14th, but Iíve seen no sign of them yet; and couldnít get ahold of the grower Friday - maybe because of the holiday? So Iíll try again tomorrow - hate the thought of them being in transit or a warehouse all this time! Poor Neighbor Mike is in a frenzy - he got ahead of himself and had his ground all worked up, and had the berry planter on his tractor, ready to go - and then it rained - so now heís going to have to rework the ground, which means taking the planter back off the tractor and then back on the tractorÖ..

My eggs have one more week to go before hatch date - sure hope some of them hatch out! Now Uncle Roger is telling Uncle Ivan that he has a bigger incubator with a turner in it even; all heís got to do is remember who he loaned it out to! He used it for hatching quail back when we used to let go several batches of quail chicks each spring. I just wanted a few chickens - I have this nightmarish vision of the farm looking like the ďChicken RanchĒ in that one scene in ďThe Best Little Whorehouse In TexasĒ - nothingí but chickens, far as the eye can see! Hmmm - how many ways do I know how to fix chicken?! Good thing that there is an Amish family with one of those small processing plants not too far away! I did see some pretty nifty set ups down in MO for keeping the different varieties separated; the breeding stock anyway - guess weíll have to see what Hubs comes up with. I heard something about a ďMuleĒ crate and some scrap 2x4ís from work the other dayÖ

Pop and I did get over to the nursery the other day, but they didnít have any of those Wave petunias in yet; and thatís what I wanted for my buckets. So, I bought some herbs and some perennial flowers instead. And I HAD a chaparone, even! Heck, itís not safe for me to go to the nursery even when Iím not by myself! Probably would have been worse if Uncle Ivan had been along tho! Guess Iíd better count my blessings, eh? Unc was happy today because you can really see the oats coming up down in the East field. We need go back and oversow the alfalfa/mix seed again, as the drill wasnít working quite right. Looks like it will be Unc driving the quad runner and me sitting on the back cranking a seeder - fun, fun! Good thing Iíve still got a couple of vacation days left this week!

Well, my brain isnít functioning too well right now - probably because all my blood is in my belly - focusing on digestion! Which reminds me, thereís one piece of banana pie leftÖ..so I guess Iíd better go get it before someone else does; and then curl up on the couch in a stupor! You folks all take care, hope your Easter was a happy one!

PS- Good to see you back, Wildman Jack!

-- Anonymous, April 20, 2003

Hi Wildman! Good to see you again! It sounds like your life has been very interesting lately, here's hoping for some boredom for you.

I found another one of our lost BTS lambs: Sandy in Florida. She used to post as redneckgirl. We've exchanged a few messages through Homesteading Today. She changed computers and lost her bookmark to the site and her password so I sent them to her again. :)

The property we went to look at on Saturday already has a sale pending but that's OK because it wasn't what we wanted. My main reason for scheduling the appointment was to check out the real estate agent to see if he was someone I could work with. He passed the test. We had a good long talk about what I'm looking for and what sort of compromises I'm willing to make and now he's trying to dig up some more listings for us. The house down the street from us that looks just like ours sold in only 6 weeks, that's a record for our neighborhood. I'm more optimistic now. :)

-- Anonymous, April 21, 2003

Anyone know a site I can find alternative Mother's Day cards? (paper). Buddhist, pagan, newagey, etc....

I'm going dizzy searching on this thing; I really want to send something um......interesting to my mother this year. She needs to get a gentle clue. Her birthday card to Bren last month had a huge Bible on it! (brenda is definitely NOT christian, and my mom knows it!)

I'd really appreciate help!

-- Anonymous, April 21, 2003

EM, maybe at Present Moment (on Grand Avenue South, Minneapolis)? I haven't been in there in a decade, but I know they're still around, 'cause here's their website: www.presentmoment.com

Phone number (612) 824-3157

If you're over in this direction, I would recommend Shakti Bookstore (State Street or University Avenue) in Madison.

-- Anonymous, April 21, 2003

Did you look at www.pagangreetingcards.com ? There's a couple of cards in the "Blessings" category that could work as Mother's Day cards.

We're going to look at another property tomorrow after work. It's a house with detached 2 car garage, a pole barn with electricity, and a horse barn with stalls. It sits on 10 acres with an additional 10 acres available. It has a large country kitchen and a 34x27 bonus room on the second floor. It doesn't have a basement but it at least is on a crawlspace so there is easy access to wiring and plumbing.

-- Anonymous, April 22, 2003

Wow...lots has been going on here since I last checked in!! I have several posts to catch up on. The "muskrat love" post has really got my attention :-)!!

We've had hectic several days here. Last week my mom called and told me that she needed a hip transplant and couldn't go through it without me and my older sis there with her. But it would be impossible for either one of us to stay down there for any length of time. So...I called my younger brother (37 yrs. old) who lives within a few miles of her and told him that he needed to take responsibility for her and either move in and take care of her during the rehabilitation time or have her move in with him. But...he's not willing to give up his lifestyle to take care of her (he's gay and he thinks my mom doesn't know!). But he wants me or my sister to move 1000 miles south to take care of her!! So this puts us on a MAJOR quilt trip! I've spoken with my mother in the past about his being gay and she's cool with it...but he just can't seem to talk with her about it!! So this past weekend has been an endless series of phones calls and arguments. Sheesh!!! And in the middle of it all...Harry and I had to find time to celebrate our 32nd. anniversary on the 19th. To tell you the truth I can't remember if we did or not!!

On the plus side...we did get the shrink wrap off our boat and have started stocking it for the summer! And...Harry got his lobster license renewed. He had to take a test this year for his license since he's a non-commercial lobsterman. Just a one-time test, though, and he passed with flying colors!!

Gardening question here...we've down-sized our garden this year and plan on doing lots of "vertical" gardening. Can anyone recommend a good cucumber, zucchini and yellow squash variety that will work well?? Anything other suggestions for vertical gardening...please?

Wildman...sure is great to "see" you back here!!!! Good that you caught the blocked artery in your neck soon enough. One of our neighbors developed the same problem, ignored it...and ended up doing hospital time! Anytime you and Sandy want to do some "real" fishing :-)...here in Lake Atlantic...let me know! You're more than welcome! And Harry's #1 rule is to always keep the boat well-stocked with beer :-)!!

Joy...so sorry to read about your conure! I know how hard it is to lose a bird that has bonded with you. I had a raven many years ago that I had to put down and it was sooo hard to do! How is Julie's hamster and guinea pig??

Talk to you all tomorrow.....

-- Anonymous, April 22, 2003

Haven't read everything posted here yet, but couldn't wait to tell you that we just got a new addition to the flock... a handsome ram lamb...big! His mom was so thoughtful...had him in the barn on a nice sunny day (in daylight) five minutes after I got home from work, changed clothes, and found her in the barn. What a gem! One more ewe to go.

-- Anonymous, April 22, 2003

A sister an almost two hours behind him...!! Both doing well as of 11:50 pm PDT. I think I'll sleep out in the barn for the other one tonight. Sheesh. I stink bigtime! Iodine, and sheepish smells...

-- Anonymous, April 23, 2003

Well I'm gonna tell y'all what I've been working on the past few weeks. I have developed a recipe for pizza that is low carb, organic, and gluten-free, and delicious.! (We've been eating a lot of pizza here lately!).I've had myriad hare-brained ideas over the years, some of which I've persued for awhile, but nothin much stuck, I think cuz I didn't really have my heart in it,but was just tryin to find a way to make a living on my own. (using money as a motivator doesn't help ya find your calling). Anyway, here I am at it again, this time I'm thinking of marketing this thing. It definitely covers more than one niche that holds promise, what with the low carb thing taking off like crazy, and the increasing numbers of gluten intolerant folks out there, not to mention the "real food" advocates. I have several details to work out yet; plan on getting some advice from SCORE, etc. I especially am ignorant of what's available in equipment, and some of the stuff I'm imagining using may not even exist (yet). Course I'd try to use locally grown, grass-fed, organic ingredients as much as possible. So I've been having fun; it's been a long time.

-- Anonymous, April 23, 2003

EM...That's really great news about your pizza!! Is this going to be only available locally or have you thought about distributing nationwide?? I've often thought that pizza could be the "perfect food" 'cause when you think about it...depending on the toppings...it seems to be a well balanced diet!! Do you need any taste-testers :-)??

BTW...I still think you should write a book, too!!

-- Anonymous, April 24, 2003

I think I mentioned that the first lamb born was followed by a twin (girl). Now the last (I hope!) ewe has lambed: two ram lambs. I came home from work just in time to watch our ewe labor and deliver. How thoughtful these ewes are! Moms and babes are doing fine.

-- Anonymous, April 24, 2003

We are going to make an offer on the property we looked at yesterday. I couldn't sleep at all last night, I'm alternating between excitement and terror. :) Our real estate agent is out of the office until Sunday so we'll probably sit down and write the offer on Monday. We're making it contingent on a home inspection, chimney inspection (house has 2 fireplaces), pest inspection, well inspection (including testing the water for the usual gunk and agricultural chemicals), and septic inspection (septic was pumped less than a year ago). The current occupants are building a house and won't be ready to move until the end of May or early June so that will give us time to get our current house sold.

-- Anonymous, April 24, 2003

EM, I am skeptical but hopeful about the delicious part of your pizza discovery. Keep us posted! :-)

Marcia, I want to try growing yellow crookneck squash this year, but I don't have any experience with them. I would GUESS that you could train them up a net trellis or some such thing.

Sherri, very exciting! You'll have to give us more details on it, once you make the offer and it's accepted.

-- Anonymous, April 24, 2003

Marcia, I had never heard of vining summer squash before, so looked it up, and found one. Don't really get why someone would want one though, since one or two regular summer sqash bushes has always kept us in plenty of the stuff.

Tatume (C. pepo) 45 days ó The fruits can be harvested in as little as 45 days. The vining summer squash yields medium to dark green fruit that are 5 to 7 inches at maturity. The fruit is unusually firm for a summer squash and have a fine flavor. (victory seeds)

Gee whiz, Joy; how come you think my pizza ain't gonna be delish? I've tasted many many commercial products out there, both gluten-free and low carb, and tried many recipes others are using, but nothing so far has come close to this. Can't really be anything but delish, cuz it's all real food, no blechy soy or rice flour etc.

-- Anonymous, April 24, 2003

Joy & EM...we're just trying to "save space" here and hoping to squeeze in as much as possible. And...I've been watching the Martha Stewart show and she had a gardener on who demonstrated "vertical gardening". He showed how to build a trellis with four 2x2"s with twine wound around these two by two's...and the plants were amazing!! Any extra squash would help feed our homegrown pork :-)!!! I'll check out the "Tatume" variety you mentioned, EM! Thanks!!

-- Anonymous, April 24, 2003

Marcia, we would love to do some real fishing in a big pond. If we're ever up that way, and I'm sure you're up there, we'll e-mail you. Don't go sitting by the computer waiting on an e-mail anytime soon though because we don't get out very often unless you count trips to Mountain Home to the hospital as getting out.

And that's assuming that EM doesn't take me off fish too!

Thanks for the offer though.

Wildman AR. (going fishing someday)

-- Anonymous, April 24, 2003

OK, here's the scoop on the property we're thinking of buying. The house was built in 1900 but the roof, wiring, and heating have been updated within the past 7 years. There's a family room addition on the back with a woodstove. There's an eat-in kitchen, enclosed porch, laundry room, living room, 3 bedrooms and 2 bathroom. There's a fireplace in the livingroom but I'm not sure if it's working. The kitchen and bathrooms will need updating eventually but they're in workable condition in the meantime. Our favorite part of the house is upstairs. The entire second floor has been converted into one large room. The center of the room is roughly rectangular and there are dormers on all four sides so the walls and ceilings make all sorts of cool angles. We are going to build some bookcases around all the walls and turn it into our library.

Both the front and back yard have lots of trees. There used to be an aboveground pool in the back yard. The pool is gone but they had planted large shrubs around the pool which are still there, so there's this great circular secluded area just perfect to put in a stone circle! There is a 2 car garage attached to the house by an open breezeway and a large deck in the back. There are 3 other outbuildings; a 32x36 polebarn, a 32x75 polebarn set up for horses (tack room and 3 stalls), and a 54x80 polebarn with cattle pens. There are 2 small pastures and 2 large pastures, one of the large pastures has a creek cutting through the southeast corner. The pastures are all fenced with electric fencing. The current owners have a 40-head herd of Angus and the entire setup is clean, neat, and in excellent working condition. (They're taking the livestock with them when they move)

I'm actually very intimidated by the barns and fences and stuff. I feel kind of guilty that we won't be putting all of the barns to use, at least not right away. I think I need Polly and EM to come live with me for about 5 years to help me get everything set up! :)

The property currently is 80 acres, it is being divided up into 10- acre parcels. We are buying the parcel with the house and barns and an additional 10 acres of pasture. The current owners are building a new house about 10 miles away so that the Mrs. can be closer to her ailing parents. Their house should be finished by the end of May, so we would be closing sometime in mid-June.

Now do you understand why I'm alternating enthusiasm with terror?! :)

-- Anonymous, April 25, 2003

Sounds fantastic, sherri! You seem to have thought of everything. Let's see how the inspection goes; that's very important!

Barns won't bite; you don't have to use them until you're ready ya know. You may want to eventually use one for drying herbs or somesuch. They are wonderful to have around though. I miss mine terribly, cuz there were always so many places to go to be alone and think.

Marcia, yes I would like to market the pizzas everywhere; in fact I'd likely start out direct marketing over the internet. The demand, especially for low-carb, is huge. I'd of course like to get into coops and health food stores, but I havent done much research on it yet; there may be huge shelf space bribes involved! I just hope I have the energy to go through with this, and don't chicken out. It really is a good idea; the pizzas taste just like regular ones, with no grains and under 5 grams carbs per piece.

-- Anonymous, April 25, 2003

Nope, Sherri; can't understand it at all ;oP Heck, in five years, you'll be ready to build another barn - you'll have run out of space for everything you want to do by then! Sounds great!

I've got lots I want to say, but I'm fighting a lousy cold and have to go in to work tonight and tomorrow night, so I'm not spending too much time vertical today. Hope to get back with you all soon. Take care,

-- Anonymous, April 25, 2003

I've been giving this some more thought and I think that I need Marcia, Dee, and Julie to move in with me in addition to Polly and EM. Of course the rest of you are welcome too. :)

EM, your pizza sounds great, and I know that a lot of low carbers buy their food thru the internet. The website www.lowcarbfriends.com has a marketplace section if you want to check it out for ideas.

-- Anonymous, April 26, 2003

WE GOT A BABY CHICKIE!! So far, one of our banty eggs has hatched; and two more are pipping. And I have to go to work, dang it!! I wanna stay home and watch the babies hatch! He sure is chirping away in there - gotta leave him in the incubator to dry out for 12 to 24 hours; hopefully he'll have some brothers and sisters to put under the light with him when I get home in the morning. They weren't even supposed to start hatching until tomorrow. Unc has a couple dozen more banty eggs - you can betcha I'll be setting them to hatch when I know I'll be off work...wonder if I can get him to bring them down Wednesday...

Now Sherri, if you're going to bring all of us in, you'd better snap up a few more of those 10 acre parcels! Tho, we can follow EM's cattle with Sheepish's sheep; and then my chickens; but Julies horses are going to have to have their own lot (picky eaters!) Dee and Marcia's goats can probably fit in the same pasture rotation as the sheep, but I'm not sure where you're going to find Harry some lobsters to trap there in Central Indiana! Maybe we could turn one of those barns into a big dormitory! Got room in that library for a couple thousand more books? (lots of trash fiction, sorry!)

I only managed to get a couple of hours of sleep today - pity my patients tonight! Jessie called and wanted Hubs to go with her to buy a car - she needed someone to listen and look at the mechanical stuff, and then look mean and say "HOW much?!!" and wanted Mama along for moral support as well. Her Dad was too busy riding his motorcycle on a poker run to bother. Jerk. Anyway, she is now the proud owner of a midnight blue, 4WD, 4 door, 2000 Blazer. Hubs didn't even have to do any bargaining; said she got a darn good deal on her own. I am hanging my head in shame that my daughter is driving an SUV (OMG, she wants to be a soccer Mom!); but am proud as punch that she was able to do the shopping, comparisons, banking and all that pretty much on her own - not too bad for an 18 year old! She has graciously offered to come pick me up and take me to work when the roads are bad this winter - what a sweety!

I managed to get the poison ivy patch mostly cleaned up on Tueday - and then managed to sleep Tuesday night only after liberal application of Icy Hot to muscles that I didn't know I had. That dang stuff is a pain to pull out! The double daylillies that I pulled out and planted by the shed are looking pretty good, but the phlox is still resting in a bucket for when I get a chance/find a place to put it. We mowed off the statice and surprize lillies because the ivy was so wound in them I couldn't get them loose. I still have a bit more ivy to chop out and pull, so they'll have a chance to come back up and I'll move them then. Neighbor Mike came over on Wednesday; and Jes stopped in after her class that day and we managed to get his 500 strawberries in the ground at his place; then got our 500 in over here as well before I had to go in to work. I had spent the morning weeding my big beds in the garden (lots of strawberries setting on!) and planting my asparagus and raspberry plants that came along with the strawberries. We got a nice rain on Thursday during the day to help them settle in; but then got pea size hail on Thursday evening, so I imagine that took care of thinning the peach crop for me. The plants in the garden don't look any the worse for wear, so I reckon it didn't do too much damage out there. Unc was annoyed that he hadn't gotten the sweet corn it, so we are hoping that it dries up enough to at least plant a couple of rows with the little push seeder before it rains again this week. I guess I can always use one of my 4x4 squares and plant enough for one meal if we don't manage to beat the rain to the field.

Woo-woo!! TWO chickies! Damn, I love motherhood! Damn, I hate work! Gotta go, take care,

-- Anonymous, April 26, 2003

Congrats on your little "peepers", Polly!! I also have an incubator set up and it's on the same hatch schedual as yours. Had an early baby hatch out Sat. morning and another just hatched this morning. Due date was today. I really don't expect a very good hatch, though, since my granddaughter has been "checking" on the eggs just a wee bit too much during the past three weeks...if you know what I mean!! She means well, but gets so excited! Plus we lost power a couple of times, but if we get a half dozen or so out of 24 eggs that's fine with me. I really don't need any more layers! I ordered my meat chicks and turkey poults a week ago. They'll be ready to be picked up the second week of May.

Hey Sherri...I'd KILL for that many outbuildings!!! You are soooo lucky! And you most definitely will fill them up quickly...if not with live critters, then you will with other "stuff"! Put in a lobster habitat and we'll bring some down :-)!!

A question for you medical folks...How miserable is a hip replacement operation done with a spinal block??? My mom HAS to have one, but her doctor doesn't think general anesthesia is a good idea because of several factors...age (75), small heart murmur and diabetes. So he's thinking about a spinal block. Isn't there alot of pounding, grinding and just general "bashing" that goes on while replacing a hip? Would she be comfortable?? Decisions...decisions!!!

We FINALLY got a chance to get out last night to celebrate our anniversary. And for a few hours before we actually left, we turned the ringer off on the phone so we wouldn't get any "discouraging" phone calls and change our minds about going!! Had an excellent dinner and some slow dancing :-)...then topped the evening off by stopping at Walmart! A necessary evil for me when I have to buy cat litter in bulk!!! Never even checked our answering machine til 8 a.m. today. It was great to have over 16 hrs. where we didn't have to deal with alot of the stuff that's been going on...but reality hit us in the face this morning and now I have to call my mom and Harry has to explain to his mom why we went out to dinner without her last night :-)!!

Kinda rainy and drizzly here today. I'd hoped to plant my peas, but maybe tomorrow. We have the garden all rototilled and ready to go. I bought some cuke seeds (Marketmore) and from what a friend tells me, they are a vining plant AND the cucumber beetles don't seem to bother them as much. We'll find out, I guess!!

Have a good day, everyone!!!!

-- Anonymous, April 27, 2003

Ok, Jack; there's a good boy!

I think you should try giving up all dairy and all wheat to start your investigation of what you may be allergic to. If you can learn how to do muscle testing with a partner, your search may be more swift. If you cannot find someone to teach you, I can try to explain it.

Wheat is very tricky to avoid; I spend a lot of time reading labels cuz bren cannot have any wheat, and they hide it in everything. BTW, health food stores around here sell rice crackers that are really quite good.

Be strong!

-- Anonymous, April 28, 2003

Hey Polly....how many chicks did ya get?? I only had those two hatch out. But...like I said, I don't really need anymore layers!! At least they can keep each other company and they'll probably get spoiled rotten :-)!

Did anybody see my question about hip transplants??? Any advice...please?

About vining summer squash...I found two varieties that...I think...are vine types. "Sunray" hybrid summer squash and "Born-free" hybrid zucchini squash. Anyone ever hear of them? I'm gonna check them out further!

Sherri...how did it go with your offer for the house??

-- Anonymous, April 29, 2003

BTW...EM. Almost fergot! I checked out the Tatume variety of squash and it sounds really good. I like the idea of heirloom seeds, also! I've ordered a "hands-on" catalog from Victory Seeds and who knows...they might be my new favorite seed site!!!

-- Anonymous, April 29, 2003

Marcia I meant to say something about your hip replacement question but it slipped my mind. Thanks for the reminder. I think that a hip replacement with just a spinal block is possible, but you're right that there's going to be a lot of pounding and drilling and stuff going on. If they're not going to put her completely under they should at least give her some high-powered sedatives so that she can stay relaxed and calm while it's happening. Did this opinion come from her GP or from a surgeon? My ex-FIL had a double knee replacement after having a mitral valve replacement to correct his heart murmur. You may want to get a second opinion from a different surgeon.

We're making the offer on the house tonight. :)

-- Anonymous, April 29, 2003

Sorry Marcia, for not getting back to you sooner. Yes, a hip replacement can be done under spinal anesthesia; and yes, there is a lot of pressure and pounding, lots of cauterization of bleeders (smelly!), and possibly some grinding as well. Just because it's a spinal block doesn't mean that you have to be "awake". A lot of people's experience with spinals is from C-sections or the like, where they WANT to stay awake; but you don't have to be alert-awake. There are some really good concious sedation drugs (Versed is one that comes to mind) that can be used along with a spinal, or with a local for that matter, not that anyone would even think of such a thing for a hip. Versed is an amnesiac; you don't remember what has (or is) happening, but you can answer questions if asked, tho you may require lots of prompting. Good drug. We actually used to give it IM as part of our "pre-op cocktail" - Versed, Demerol, Droperidol and an anti-emetic; but we don't do concious sedation on the regular medical floor anymore. So yeah, it can be done; and it's not as rough on them as general anesthesia.

Why are they so hot to do a hip replacement? Is she high risk for a fracture? A hip replacement replaces the ball of the femure and the socket of the hip, usually. Many hip "fractures" are actually fractures of the neck of the femur (leg bone) up near the ball joint that goes into the hip socket. Lots of times people say that they've "fallen and broken a hip" when in actuality, the fracture (from very porous and brittle bone quality) usually comes first and causes the fall.

One thing that you want to be prepared for is for her to be a bit goofy afterward; this more often happens with a fracture than a basic replacement; but it happens very frequently, especially at night - tho her orthopod may not think so. Then again, they spend 3 minutes in the morning with the patient, where the nurses are with them 12 hours at night - who do you suppose knows better what happens?! Uncle Red was back at Pearl Harbor, fighting the Japanese after his... Pts tend to lose a lot of blood during the op, and may need a couple or more pints post surgery - many of the body's blood cells are produced in the femur, and when you add the loss of blood to the loss of production, you get anemic, in a fast hurry. Fewer red blood cells = less oxygen carrying capicity = goofy in the head. Clots can also be a problem, so she will probably get subq injections of a blood thinner and go home on a po blood thinner as well. She may also need to go to a skilled nursing facility - in hospital for a few days; then maybe to a nursing home for re-hab, for a short time. Depends on how she's doing.

Some things to make life a bit easier - if her bed isn't already elevated; raise it up about 6". An easy way to do this is to make "boxes" out of 2x6's and set the legs of the frame in them. Use a bedside commode set over the toilet with the bottom cut out of the bucket (any bucket) to give her a higher seat and also something to hang on to to get up. A satin bottom sheet and nylon or satin nightgowns make getting in/out of bed easier. Pajamas are a pain - as are underpants; go with gown/robe combos; knee to mid calf length. Get rid of all throw rugs, extension cords that are not flat against the wall, tippy tables. Move expensive knickknacks up and out of the way until she gets used to walking again. Make sure doorways are clear and paths are uncluttered - move or take out furniture if needs be to make room for manuevering a walker. Get or make her a tote to fasten over the front rail of the walker so she won't be tempted to carry things in her hands while using the walker. Cups with lids that shut tightly will help prevent spills. Ummm, I will probably think of other things later.

Chickies - I ended up with 6; getting ready to maybe start some more tomorrow, after I empty and clean the incubator. Unc set 24 chicken and 12 banty eggs last Saturday in a new incubator that he bought - one with a turner! One of the chicks, I don't think was quite ready to hatch - smaller, missing a few feathers on his back, a bit wobbly and had what I call his umbilical cord, dry, but still hanging, below his butt. And I couldn't keep the little booger out of the waterer and then the cord would get wet and look bloody and the others would pick at it, and pick at his toes, cause he's the only one with dark feet; so I had to segregate him in the brooder. Then, he wouldn't eat - just sat by the wire and cheeped. So, I put him in with the others; and then moved out the ones that were bad to pick on him, so we're currently 2 on one side and 4 on the other. I put some petrolatum on his back to keep them from pecking; probably should put some on his cord as well. He's eating and drinking and pooping now, anyway. Still noisy - a little ADHD, I think!

Hubs and I worked on cleaning the shed a bit after I got up on Sunday; and then I planted a couple of 4x4 blocks of corn while he fixed supper - since it was supposed to rain all week. Then we watched a video that one of his co-workers had sent out -"Oh Brother, Where Art Thou". Not bad, but I woulda rather read a book.

Monday, Uncle Ivan got the area between the tater patch and the new strawberries tilled while I got some weeding done in the garden - and while Pop, AKA "lazy bum", went to town for coffee; then we used the little push planter to plant 6, 60' rows of sweet corn - 2 each of early, mid and late season. We worked out a plan for the rest of the 2 acres east of the house; and then we all hopped on the golf cart to go look at the oat/hay field - not too bad; oats about 6" tall and the other stuff in starting to come up as well. Unc went to go hunt mushrooms while I weeded some more, until the rain ran me in the house. Then I went to town and met Hubs, to do some grocery shopping and then go to Rural King for feed and parts for the water tank, but we got our fill of "idiots and assholes" at the grocery store, so skipped the farm store and came on home to calm our jangled nerves. People - sheesh!! No wonder I hate to go to town!

Today, Pop and I hopped in the truck and headed up to Arthur, Unc's home town, and met up with him and Aunt Susan to go out and look at some used wringer washers at an Amish pump shop. Unfortunately, everything they had was air powered (he buys at auction, and so does get in some electric ones now and again); but he does do repair work, so I'm going to check with Aunt Shady to see if she still has that one that needs the wringer repaired. Pop thinks I'm having a fit of nostalgia - oh, yeah, right - I WANT to work harder! - but I'm wanting something that I can reuse the water (rinse water for the next wash, etc..) and that doesn't have a pump, so I don't have to worry about the darn thing freezing up out in the shed. If it's cold, I can just start a fire (or better, have Hubs start one!) in the shop and roll the washer in there. Hmm, maybe I can even get him to string me some lines across the shop....dream on!! So as not to have the trip be a total loss, I hit up the bulk food store, and got some dehydrated onions and potatoe slices, buttermilk powder, donut mix and lots of other good stuff - think I'll stop in there next fall on my stock up run! After that, we stopped at a nursery on the way back to Unc's. Unc and I are each up to 4 dozen tomato plants now, I think - picture me shaking my head and rolling my eyeballs! Guess I'd better go rework that plan we made yesterday, 'cause I think I'm going to need three rows of tomatoes instead of one!

Well, I need to fix some side dishes to go with the steaks Hubs is going to grill for supper; maybe some broccoli, and some baked sweet potatoes? Or cheesy potatoes? Or fried potatoes with onions? Or....

You folks all take care, have a good week!

(PS - we gonna start a new one of these in May?)

-- Anonymous, April 29, 2003

to ps: Yes

Very busy, more from me one of these days soon.

-- Anonymous, April 29, 2003

Sherri and Polly...thanks for the info and advice. God knows I have soooo much to think about and decide...long distance!!! I'm tryin' and hopefully my mother will understand....!!

-- Anonymous, April 30, 2003

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